Policy Placements Announced for 27th Class Emerson National Hunger Fellows

Emerson, Policy, Updates

The Hunger Center is pleased to announce the policy placements for the 27th Class Emerson National Hunger Fellows. From March 10th to July 29th, each fellow will work with one of sixteen host organizations, ranging from U.S. federal agencies to advocacy campaigns, think tanks, national nonprofits, and research institutes.

"The policy placement is at the heart of the fellowship's design," said Tony Jackson, Director of the Emerson Hunger Fellowship. "Too often, federal policy is designed without input from the people who will be most affected by it. Through their combination of field and policy experience, Emerson Fellows bridge the gaps in understanding and implementation, getting a richer and fuller perspective on how they can be most effective in the movement to end hunger in the United States."

Organizations apply to host a fellow through a competitive process, and fellows are matched to their policy placements taking into account the fellows' interests, experiences, and career goals, as well as the host organizations' needs and other factors. Since 1994, Emerson Fellows have worked with over 100 policy-focused host organizations.

This year's roster of host organizations features two first-time partners, as well as some familiar hosts from previous classes. The fellows' work plans, determined in advance by the host organizations, include research, writing, strategy development, analysis, and communication; some work plans continue projects begun by fellows in previous years.

The 27th Class of Emerson National Hunger Fellows began their fellowship in August 2020, with seven-month field placements with community-based organizations across the country. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most fellows have completed their field placements through remote work; while fellows would normally return to Washington, D.C., in February for a policy training, this year's training and placements will also be conducted remotely.

Alliance to End Hunger

Michelle Nikfarjam will create educational materials, presentations, and manage a racial equity learning group as part of the "Hunger is a Racial Equity Issue" campaign.
Meet the Alliance | Meet Michelle

American Public Human Services Association

Joel Anderson will provide support for a pilot program that seeks to increase data sharing between SNAP and child nutrition agencies at the state level.
Meet APHSA | Meet Joel

Brookings Institution

Olivia Chan will research and identify policies and programs that build economic opportunity for all, especially low-wage workers, unemployed people, and people without college degrees.
Meet Brookings | Meet Olivia

Center for Law and Social Policy

Jacquelyn Sullivan will support CLASP's 2021 Youth Team Agenda and New Deal for Youth to promote economic justice, healing and well-being, and safe communities.
Meet CLASP | Meet Jacquelyn
Janiah Miller will support the work of CLASP's Community Partnership Group by assisting with the implementation of projects based on members’ interests.
Meet CLASP | Meet Janiah
Rocio Perez will research paid family leave policies and draft a brief on the program's implementation in the District of Columbia.
Meet CLASP | Meet Rocio

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Sara Maillacheruvu will conduct a literature review and contribute to a report on food insecurity and structural racism.
Meet CBPP | Meet Sara

Congressional Hunger Center

Curtis Hills will research SNAP eligibility rules for college students in select states for the College SNAP project website.
Meet the Hunger Center | Meet Curtis

Feeding America

Ally Hardebeck will create interactive data visualizations on the importance of strong federal nutrition programs to support Feeding America's advocacy network.
Meet Feeding America | Meet Ally


Niisoja Torto will develop state-level advocacy strategies for food security and food education policies.
Meet FoodCorps | Meet Niisoja

Food Research & Action Center

Lexie Holden will research Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) policy and participation rates, and create online resources to share information about the program.
Meet FRAC | Meet Lexie
Nancy Chang will create trainings, fact sheets, and other resources to increase participation in WIC and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meet FRAC | Meet Nancy

The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice

Leslie Rios will research student-related rules in public benefit programs like SNAP, temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and housing programs; develop policy positions to remove barriers to these programs for college students.
Meet the Hope Center | Meet Leslie

Kairos Center for Religion, Rights, and Social Justice

Tony Eskridge will support and promote policy priorities of the Poor People's Campaign.
Meet the Kairos Center | Meet Tony

National Conference of State Legislatures

Xavier Roberts will produce publications, webinars, social media content, and briefings on hunger and immigration for state legislators and legislative staff.
Meet NCSL | Meet Xavier

National Women's Law Center

Cara Claflin will research and document remedies for discriminatory policies, systems, and structures that make women and girls more likely to experience poverty.
Meet NWLC | Meet Cara


Max De Faria will research and report on policy developments on housing, poverty, and the racial wealth divide.
Meet RESULTS | Meet Max

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture - Food & Nutrition Service

Kate Blankinship will identify best practices and guidance for Residential Child Care Institutions seeking to participate in federal Child Nutrition Programs, and develop a searchable database of current FNS policy.
Meet USDA | Meet Kate

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